Leeds United: Byram move to Hammers could cost Whites

Sam Byram. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Sam Byram. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

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LEEDS United could lose out financially if Sam Byram opts to join West Ham United rather than Everton.

West Ham have had an offer for Byram accepted on the back of his talks with Everton and should complete the signing of Leeds United’s talented right-back in the next 48 hours.

Byram met with officials from Goodison Park on Sunday to discuss a potential transfer but he raised doubts about the likelihood of a switch to Merseyside by reporting for training with Leeds at Thorp Arch this morning.

A source at Elland Road told the YEP earlier that Byram was taking time to “think it all through” with West Ham continuing to make United aware of their interest in buying him.

The London club remained in contact with Leeds owner Massimo Cellino following confirmation of Everton £3.7m offer and have now tabled a bid of their own.

A number of sources say West Ham are matching Everton’s bid but an angry Cellino claimed their proposal was “much lower” - and said Byram’s reluctance to move to Goodison Park had forced him to accept it.

Both Premier League clubs have offered £3.7m but Everton’s deal could have netted Leeds an extra £1.3m in add-ons including the number of appearances the 22-year-old makes.

Byram appears attracted to the Hammers due to the prospect of regular first-team football under Slaven Bilic.

At Everton, Byram would have been competing for a place with established right-back Seamus Coleman.

“I’m really sorry for Everton because they really acted like gentlemen, but Sam chose West Ham,” Leeds owner Massimo Cellino is reported to have said.

Although a deal looks likely this week, if nothing happens in the transfer window, Academy product Byram could leave on a free transfer in the summer when his contract runs out, although Leeds would claim £2m in compensation for bringing him through.

Byram met officials from Goodison Park on Sunday but trained with Leeds on Monday after being left out of Saturday’s derby at Hillsborough at then player’s request, according to head coach Steve Evans.

Byram is also believed to have spoken with West Ham over the weekend.

Byram has played 143 times for Leeds but his appearance in the recent 2-0 FA Cup win over Rotherham United being his last for the club.

With hopes of reaching the Championship play-offs virtually gone, Leeds fans will now hope that Byram will not be followed out of the Elland Road door by other leading players.

Departures like that of Byram beg the question of who might be next and United legend Eddie Gray is certain that others will tread the same path if Leeds cannot fight their way into the Premier League.

“This is going to happen again,” Gray said. “Nothing’s going to change until the club gets back to the Premier League. It’s not what people want to here, but it’s a fact.

“You can talk about money but I don’t think Sam’s thinking about money. He’s on a good contract at Leeds. He’ll be thinking about getting to the highest level – the same as Delph, the same as Howson, the same as someone like Snodgrass, who’s the best player we’ve had here in 10 years. They didn’t go because they don’t like it at Leeds. Anyone who thinks that is wrong. I honestly believe that they loved being at the club but in the end they wanted to further their careers.

“Whatever’s gone on behind the scenes, I didn’t really expect Sam to sign a new contract, not if the club were still in the Championship. It doesn’t look like the team are going up this year. Are they going to go up next year? There’s a lot of work to do. He’s 22 and it’s better to make the break at that age than it is when you’re 26, 27.”